Stillstand technique & length

I am interested in improving my stillstands & would love to hear comments about technique please (including the physics behind it too perhaps).

I am also interested in the length of time you all manage to hold it for. I thought a good way to talk about the length might be “best time stationary for 5 attempts on hard level ground”

From searching previous threads I get the feeling that PRACTICE & riding on narrow objects may be a good starting point and that a good deal of weight should be on the seat.



I’ve found that being able to hop without hands on the seat is handy. Then you can start off with both arms out wide for balance (which I think is very important). I can probably only still stand for about 5sec. I have no doubt that I do my best still stands when I’m doing trials.


I do my best still stands, funnily enough, when I approach something, be it trials or MUni, when I have to think about where I’m going. When I finally decide where I’m gonna go next, I realize I’ve been in a stillstnad for several seconds. Of course, plan a stillstand and I fall right over!

Exactly…it’s strange isn’t it? Is there a good explanation for this?


I agree that it’s often the case that you can ‘accidentally’ do a long still stand when you’re approaching a tricky section of the trail, or cresting the top of a difficult steep bit. I think this is because you ride into the still stand, and when you are riding, you are balanced - and you wouldn’t stop unless your body knew you were balanced.

Also, if you’re concentrating on the trail ahead, this leaves your body’s natural reflexes to sort out your balance. if you concentrate on the still stand, you add a layer of conscious thought to the process - always a mistake in so many areas of life!

As for deliberate technique, all I can offer is that you should have the cranks more or less horizontal, and I find it best to stand up. This raises the centre of gravity (centre of mass) which means that things happen more slowly. (It’s the old thing about balancing a broom on your finger: it’s easier than balancing a hairbrush.)

Also, if you’re standing, you can move out of the still stand into an idle by dropping your weight onto either of the pedals, as necessary.

So would it be easier to still stand on a 5’ giraffe or would that have passed some sort of a limit?


I find it easier to idle on my friends giraffe i don’t know about stillstands though.

An excellent question. It cuts right to the core of my argument.
If it’s easier to still stand when you raise your centre of mass by standing up on a 20 inch uni, would it be lots and lots easier to stillstand on a 90 foot giraffe?

And the answer is I don’t know!

I suspect three things:
Still standing on a giraffe may be a touch harder because there is an extra ‘hinge’ in the mechanism. By this, I mean that the rider’s weight is applied to the giraffe via the pedals/cranks/bottom bracket at a point remote from the wheel. I suspect this means that the link between the rider and uni is less ‘rigd’. Perhaps not.

If the rider carefully chooses his/her moment to still stand, then it should be easier to get the rider’s mass within 9say) half an inch of the perfect point (compared to a smaller uni). If so, then the giraffe will be nearer to perfectly poised, and will stand for longer.

BUT… I suspect that when it starts to go, the giraffe will reach the point of no return rather more quickly.

I’ve ridden a few giraffes, but only briefly, so I can’t elucidate further.

I’ve experimented a little with riding along and then ‘popping up’ onto the pedals into a stillstand. Standing up seems to help me, and the pop up seems to convert any residual forward motion into vertical and neutralizing it. Also if you need to balance forward or backward, you can just lean your upper body without moving your lower body, lengthening the stillstand.

As the ‘fool’ said, standing seems to also give me more time to recover once it is obvious I can’t hold it any longer.

The hardest part of the stillstand if figuring out when it begins and when it ends.

One question: Only one stillstand exists in the Standard Skills List. However, I have seen other unicyclists and myself come to a complete stop while doing other skills, like one foot idle and wheel walking. Has anyone worked on this type of ‘skill’? Maybe these are more correctly characterized as a pause, since the length of time is shorter, and the original skill is usually resumed when the pause is over. But they can look cool, if you can plan them.
I think the Female Expert Freestyle winner did a bunch of pauses in skills like side ride.

Also, how about stillstand with seat out?

Okay that was more than one question. :slight_smile:

I found that the easiest way to learn to still stand is to use other no-uni devices. It can be as simple as standing on one foot. My person favorite is standing on blocks of wood. To do this you get a 2 by 4 and cut it into 6 inch pieces. Stack 2 of them in an X shape and stand on he top one. When you are good at that, put a third on on, then more. I can do about 4 right now.

I also find walking across metal poles is helpful.


No offence taken, but…
A Fool (by convention, it’s capitalised to distinguish it from the usual offensive meaning of the word.)
Or the Fule, which specifically identifies me as the Fool in question.

Or, in this forum, Mike will do. :wink:


Re: Stillstand technique & length

Mikefule <> wrote:

>As for deliberate technique, all I can offer is that you should have the
>cranks more or less horizontal, and I find it best to stand up. This
>raises the centre of gravity (centre of mass) which means that things
>happen more slowly. (It’s the old thing about balancing a broom on your
>finger: it’s easier than balancing a hairbrush.)

>Also, if you’re standing, you can move out of the still stand into an
>idle by dropping your weight onto either of the pedals, as necessary.

Standing on the pedals in a still stand also brings one closer to
standing on the ground: If one’s center of gravity shifts slightly
forward, one’s natural tendency while standing is to allow the forward
foot to bear more weight. Doing the same on a unicycle would cause to
wheel to rotate slightly (the skill is now technically no longer a still
stand, but more of a pedals horizontal idle) forward regaining balance.

This similarity of a still stand on a unicycle and simply standing
without a unicycle is part of what makes a still stand easier when
standing on the pedals.


Ken Fuchs <>

Yet another example of my laziness.

Thanks for your replies.
Am I right in thinking that stillstands are not of a great deal of interest to the general community here from the few responses so far & the lack of much previous discussion on the subject?

synopsis of comments so far:

  • One report of 5 seconds as an expected time.
  • Arms out wide for balance
  • Best times while concentrating on trials
  • Cranks more or less horizontal
  • Best to stand up
  • ‘Popping up’ onto the pedals into a stillstand helps
  • Use other non-unicycle methods to improve balance (this has to be worth it’s own thread? or is there one already?).


I’ve seen people still stand for about 20 seconds and heard people talk about minute plus still stands. I’ve never knowingly done more than about 10, although sometimes I get into quite long stillstands accidentally. 5 seconds is about what I do if I’m practicing them.

There seem to be two schools of thought on the standing up, freestyle / indoor riders who have really high seats often say to keep your weight on the pedals, whereas muni / trials riders seem to stand up, I find it much easier standing up.

I find it easiest with a bigger wheel, it’s a useful skill on a coker in traffic, if you can see a light is about to change or something.

I stillstand much better when I’m grabbing the seat handle.

As for how to learn it, I found I accidentally learnt them by cokering a lot and needing to pause and then keep going without taking the time out to idle. Also by riding muni and needing to pause and check which line to ride. Recently I’ve been practicing hopping a bit, hopping gets you into a really good balance to do a long still stand.

I think the easiest way to improve them is to try to do a hop on the spot quite high and then land and wait as long as you can before you do another hop, before you know it they’ll be a couple of second stillstands between the hops or more. Once you’ve got a good stillstand going work onto doing it from riding which is harder.